Showing posts with label InterSex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label InterSex. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Name Game.

Lately it seems, every time we turn around, someone is adding another letter to the LGBT moniker.

LGBT has become LGBTQ and beyond even, which I am not going to mention in this post. Oh well, why not. There is also LGBTQIA. If you wonder what all that means, "Q" is for questioning "I" is for intersex and "A" is for ally or asexual.

I still wonder though, what happened to the "C" for cross dressers?

Maybe you have to complete some sort of reality school to "graduate" up into the main lineup of letters? Also what happened to transsexuals? Remember when the all powerful Transsexuals "ruled" the roost after they climbed the gender dysphoria ladder to surgery and then disappeared? Maybe some still do, but almost all of the trans women who have gone through surgery I know these days are nice and mellow women.

Then there are the poor transvestites. Remember them? I remember explaining to a few key people in my world what the term meant. It seems pretty harmless these days. All I wanted to do was to dress like a woman. Of course, all of that started to change when the transgender term came along.

Every once in a while, I take a look at the other letters to see what they still mean to me. Although I know it drives many lesbians crazy, I consider myself a lesbian because I am a woman and live with a cis woman. I was gay "questioning" but never saw the need or desire and "Bi" is pretty self explanatory.

Finally, I am not intersex and I live with an ally.

Hopefully, I covered all the bases...I think I feel better!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Still No Real Movement at the VA

From The Advocate and Autumn Sandeen:
It will likely take a lawsuit  to end the Veterans Affairs policy of denying coverage for gender-confirmation surgery — a procedure currently covered by Medicare. 
Here is an excerpt: "A lawsuit was filed recently that made little news, lost to the headlines of HB 2 and the Department of Education telling America's 13,000-plus school districts that they must accommodate transgender students in accordance with Title IX. This little-heard-of lawsuit was filed by the Transgender Law Center and Lambda Legal, with co-counsel WilmerHale, and in it they've petitioned the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to change the rule that categorically excludes transition-related surgery for transgender veterans.
For a bit of background, in June of 2011, many of us transgender veterans were pretty excited when the VA announced a standardized policy of respectful and affirming delivery of health care for transgender and intersex veterans. The policy required equal access to affirmative basic health care for transgender veterans across every VA facility — which surprisingly wasn't uniform across the country — and that all medically necessary health care for transgender veterans was and still is to be provided by the VA.
Well, almost all medically necessary health care. Under existing VA regulations, transition-related surgeries — also referred to as gender-affirmation surgeries — aren't performed by or paid for by the VA. In fact, VHA Directive 2013-003 (Providing Health Care For Transgender And Intersex Veterans) states under line item 2.b. "[The] VA does not provide sex reassignment surgery or plastic reconstructive surgery for strictly cosmetic purposes."
Being a transgender veteran myself, I'm not holding my breath waiting for change, but who knows?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Definitive Guide to---Us?

Trans_Pride_Flag"Us" is similar to "they." The faceless minions in the world, not in the new movie.

If you use "us" as in the TGLBQ community, it's a serious deal especially to civilians. After all in a previous recent Cyrsti's Condo post, Connie and I discussed using the "she" pronoun at all when referring to Zoey Tur.

Perhaps you remember the Simmons College "SocialWork@Simmons" Blog we participated with here in the blog. Now Simmons is passing along a "Gender and Sexuality - Defining Terms for Everyday Use."

Here is the intro:  "Navigating the dialogue that surrounds gender and sexuality can be difficult. The terminology used by and for individuals along the gender spectrum is specific, and preferred usage can vary from individual to individual. Consider the acronym LGBT, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. It’s used all the time in phrases like “LGBT community” and “LGBT rights.” Yet, some people and groups include a “Q” in the acronym to stand for questioning, while others include an “I” to stand for intersex. The language is adaptable and it is always evolving."

Since it is incredibly complex for "us" I can only imagine how confusing it is for "them."

Thanks for checking in Megan (on my email) and Chris for his work on the blog. Follow the link for an in depth look. 

Perhaps of all the terminology, "evolving" is the most profound.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Professional "Women's Night Out"

Last night, my partner Liz and I went to a small Professional Woman's  Dinner "Meetup".  I have not been excluded from this one like the lesbians have from the "Loki" group here in Cincinnati.  It's an incredible time hearing how these other women approach their professional lives.  Of course each get together such as these have the initial "introductions."  As quickly as my old noggin could think, I thought I am not going to introduce myself as transgender with all the carnival barkers jumping on the trans band wagon.  So, I went with the "Two Spirit" name. 

Of course, my introduction confuses many "civilians" more, but it's simpler for me to say very little more and chat later-if anyone cares.

I have found many trans people don't know of, or don't embrace the Two or Dual Spirit ideas at all.
From the U.S version of the Guardian comes a look: This week's guest editor, Antony Hegarty, is a fan of the book The Spirit and the Flesh. He asked its author, Walter L Williams, to write a feature for on the 'two-spirit' tradition in Native American culture:
Native Americans have often held intersex, androgynous people, feminine males and masculine females in high respect. The most common term to define such persons today is to refer to them as "two-spirit" people, but in the past feminine males were sometimes referred to as "berdache" by early French explorers in North America, who adapted a Persian word "bardaj", meaning an intimate male friend. Because these androgynous males were commonly married to a masculine man, or had sex with men, and the masculine females had feminine women as wives, the term berdache had a clear homosexual connotation. Both the Spanish settlers in Latin America and the English colonists in North America condemned them as "sodomites.

Above, We-Wa, a Zuni two-spirit, weaving US national archives

Rather than emphasising the homosexuality of these persons, however, many Native Americans focused on their spiritual gifts. American Indian traditionalists, even today, tend to see a person's basic character as a reflection of their spirit. Since everything that exists is thought to come from the spirit world, androgynous or transgender persons are seen as doubly blessed, having both the spirit of a man and the spirit of a woman. Thus, they are honoured for having two spirits, and are seen as more spiritually gifted than the typical masculine male or feminine female.
Therefore, many Native American religions, rather than stigmatising such persons, often looked to them as religious leaders and teachers.

In my next post, I will tell you why many transgender elitists won't accept the idea at all.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Any of you who have spent anytime around Cyrsti's Condo know I'm a transgender veteran and a huge fan of trans vet Autumn Sandeen.  Autumn is always modest enough to play down her role as a transgender veteran trail blazer within the VA. But she IS and uniquely qualified to speak on navigating the VA system. Often very different than "civilian health care".

Recently she wrote a post called Transgressive Health Care for the San Diego LGBT Weekly, centering of course on the VA and trans vets. Here's an excerpt:

"Even though I’m a kind and joy-filled person, I’m always prepared to deal with inappropriate comments or behavior from the government-employed health care services workers. I’m always ready to ask why a medical doctor, nurse or technician’s bigotry is getting in the way of treating a veteran with respect to their service. Yet, I’ve never had even one treat me with anything but the purest of professionalism at the Veterans Health Care Administration (VHA) or at the Navy Medical Center, and I’ve never had to challenge anyone on their bigoted speech or behavior.
Here in San Diego, I just haven’t experienced that kind of inappropriate behavior. That I’ve never had difficulties with those who provide health care services to veterans, that I’ve never had anything but positive experiences with those health care professionals, actually makes me a bit proud of those VHA and of those Navy Medical Center, San Diego employees. Here in our city, these folk have all served me as a retired and disabled service member with honor, respect and professionalism."

I agree with Autumn's description of the system. My VA center (Dayton, Ohio) is probably much smaller in scope than some. Because of that my only problems have come from Dayton not having a full time endocrinologist in the center.  I had to get permission to go outside the system.  My dealings with the people have been remarkable. I do know that all you trans vets do not have the same story.

Autumn's latest post was very important to me as it describes her experiences with a mammogram. You can read it by following the link above. A mammogram needs to be in my future because my maternal grandmother died from breast cancer.

Not that I'm surprised but when she went in for the mammogram, the questions such as "when was your last period" or " how many times have you been pregnant" , had no other options than a number.  By the time she left though Autumn had voiced her concerns about not including options for transgender or intersex persons and she was getting the form changed.

Indeed I probably will face the same issues with the intake form when I go for a mammogram and I will make the same suggestions.

In my own small way, my goal is to try to change the system for the future.  From the way it's looking, there could be many more trans vets coming soon!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The New "T" Scott

B. Scott now  accepts the descriptor "transgender." Read on:

"Wikipedia defines Transgender as the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s assigned sex (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex).

 It is by that definition that I accept and welcome the ‘transgender’ label with open arms" 

You have probably heard by now B. Scott  is filing a multi million dollar lawsuit against BET and Viacom following the decision to force her to change to male clothes for the 2013 BET Awards Pre-Show. As she should!

In a further statement from her site B. Scott wrote: my spirit truly lies somewhere in between. It is that same spirit that has allowed me to become so comfortable in my skin, choose how I express myself, and contributes to how I live my day-to-day life.

From my own selfish viewpoint, I'm glad she clarified where she stands. After I saw B. Scott on the Chef Roble show, transgender was not one of the labels I would have used.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hey! There's More!

I watched a totally wonderful talk show this morning which hit all the right transsexual "buttons". The first couple had stayed together through SRS and wife even has a job now counseling other transgender couples and kids. The second group was a family of four who raised a transgender son the correct way...with respect and support. The third person was the famous SRS surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers (right) who is a trans woman herself. Don't get me wrong, the show left me with all the proper "warm and fuzzies". The more mainstream shows who present the transgender story in a positive light...the better off we are.

But wait! I read this post from the Bilerico Project and realized show I watched this morning had nearly become routine to me and so much was missing. Here's an excerpt from the article by Drew Cordes:

"Don't get me wrong: Part of me is thrilled that trans* people are becoming more visible and gaining social acceptance. But the picture cis people and cis media paint of us is simplistic to say the least, and my concern is that it should not be only those trans people that our empathy, and thus, our resources, are going toward. We don't want to hear about the messy cases. We're not as familiar with the stories of inner-city trans* women of color who grow up disadvantaged, below the poverty line, poorly educated, disowned by family, and turn to sex work or living on the streets to survive. We don't hear those stories over and over, but they happen over and over. And usually those stories do not conclude on a hopeful note. Anyone who's ever attended a Trans* Day of Remembrance ceremony and heard the stories of all those murdered in the past year will solemnly corroborate this fact. We don't hear about the huge chunk of the trans* population that rebels against going from one sex all the way to the other, against our notions of what male and female are in the first place. We don't hear about those for whom gender is expressed in myriad incarnations besides just the familiar two. Where are the mainstream narratives for the femme faggy trans* men, masculine stone butch trans* dykes, intersex people who don't identify as male or female, genderqueer folks who favor a slinky cocktail dress Friday night and a three-piece suit on Saturday? Many of my friends are somewhere in that short list. I'm in that list. We're out there in sizable numbers, but culturally, we are not yet allowed to exist. It would be too confusing or off-putting to readers, viewers, listeners, students, employees, audiences, etc."

None of this is ever easy for sure. I just had one of many strange ideas buzz through my noggin...are these mainstream transgender shows  the new stealth in our community?
Yeah, we know your story already and have a great life but what about all the other of us?

Read all of Drew's post here.
Also here is a link to the Jeff Probst Show I saw.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Veterans Administration Update

In the midst of everything else that has happened around here in Cyrsti's Condo I neglected to pass along a very important directive from the VA.
The good news is the transgender directive was renewed from last year. The bad news is it is the same. Briefly the directive mandates the Veterans Administration to provide us with treatment up to the surgical threshold.
Now I'm not looking at this directive as a small deal and when the U.S. military as a whole refuses to allow transgender men and women to serve, I'm surprised it has happened at all.
Plus financially, if you are a transgender vet, this directive does have the potential to save you thousands of dollars should you decide to go the HRT route the right way...with medical supervision.

Here are two of the VHA DIRECTIVE 2013-003 provisions:

a. VA provides health care for transgender patients, including those who present at various points on their transition from one gender to the next. This applies to all Veterans who are enrolled in VA’s health care system or are otherwise eligible for VA care, including those who have had sex reassignment surgery outside of VHA, those who might be considering such surgical intervention, and those who do not wish to undergo sex reassignment surgery but self identify as transgender. Intersex individuals may or may not have interest in changing gender or in acting in ways that are discordant with their assigned gender.

b. VA does not provide sex reassignment surgery or plastic reconstructive surgery for strictly cosmetic purposes.

Finally, as with everything else in life this directive is not permanent but a renewable deal. So if you are considering getting into the system you may want to consider it!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vietnamese Transsexual

From Vietnam's Vietnam.Net comes the story of the first legally recognized transgender woman.

"In  November 5, 2009,  the decision: allowed Pham Van Hiep to re-define sex from male to female and to change her name to Pham Le Quynh Tram. She said,   “I can’t believe that this is true. I cannot describe my happiness of living with my true sex,” Tram went on to say was born in HCM City. Her family moved to Binh Phuoc when she was small. Tram was born as an intersex but she was defined at birth as a boy."

Follow the link for more!

But then on a story dated Monday: On Monday Nguyen Van Hoi, chairman of Binh Phuoc People’s Committee, officially asked the justice department to act as a counselor in revoking two decisions issued by the People’s Committee of Chon Thanh district in 2009 and 2011 to allow Pham Van Hiep to re-define his sex from male to female and to change his name to Pham Le Quynh Tram. The provincial people’s committee said in a statement that the gender recognition is against the law. The provincial authorities have also proposed disciplinary action against the officials who approved this decision. Since receiving approval to redefine her sex, Pham Van Hiep has become widely known as the first transgender in Vietnam recognized by the authorities as a woman. “I can’t believe that this is true. I cannot describe my happiness of living with my true sex,” Hiep was quoted saying at the time. Go here for that link Sad!!!! Why can't the world just let us live?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Ru The Day

Very few things make me recoil as bad as RuPaul. To me the "thing" represents a huge part of what I'm fighting against as a transgender women in today's society and specifically in the LGB world.
Ever the one to joke at our expense to make a ratings point or an extra buck...the thing did it again last night:

Last night, October 29th 2012, on RuPaul’s All Star’s Drag Race, gay male entertainer RuPaul once again used his show as a bully pulpit to mock and misrepresent what the medical condition transsexualism actually is, despite the last few years of transsexual and transgender advocates protesting his use of offensive pejoratives such as “tra**y” and “she-male” . Comedienne Vicki Lawrence asked, “Hey Ru, what’s the difference between a drag queen and a transsexual?” RuPaul laughingly replies, “About twenty-five thousand dollars and a good surgeon.” Ha ha Pauly...old joke buddy...ha ha...have a sense of humor Cyrsti. I do. But I'm tired of this jerk even having a platform to open his clueless mouth at the expense of us. This fake makes my skin crawl and has for a while!

.Here's what you can do.
 1: BOYCOTT RuPaul’s Drag Race: - Urge your friends and family to stop watching this show -
 Post MAGNET’s boycott announcment in your social networking sites and email to ally groups: Link
2: JOIN CONVERSATION: - Join Facebook Group: ‘Boycott RuPaul’s Bullying, Transsexual-phobia & Misgendering’ :
 3: WRITE & CALL RuPaul & His Production Company, World of Wonder Productions: - EMAIL World of Wonder Productions CEOs Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey: Barbato: Bailey: - ADDRESS (World of Wonder): 6650 Hollywood Blvd # 400. Hollywood, CA, 90028. - TELEPHONE (World of Wonder): 323-603-6300

 For more information/press inquiries: Contact MAGNET: Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET) is an anti-defamation organization dedicated to educating the media about transsexual, transgender & intersex issues, as well as pushing for more authentic and positive portrayals of transsexual, transgender & intersex people in the media.

I would call for boycotts or protests of Vicki Lawrence's career but if she is on with thing there is nothing left of her career to boycott.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Returning to Door Number 3

A couple days ago I posted an article loosely based on the concept of a transgender umbrella called "Behind Door Number 3". I directed all the heavy lifting on this topic to Sherri Lynne.
In the meantime, fellow reader Cerise Richards did some heavy lifting of her own on the topic.
Here's an excerpt:
"Good Morning and Happy Father's day to all TGs who have fathered children. You have produced sperm, inseminated a female who gave you a child (ren) and that makes you a biological male. But I have "Gender on My Mind" today, since Sherri has questioned whether TSs are part of the Transgender Spectrum of Humanity or are they beyond, a result of an "unknown genetic defect" (HBS). Considering we are all human and come with infinite variations of our DNA so that we are all unique. Not even identical twins have identical DNA. We must first appreciate our diversity. Do you know that there are over 300 different mutations of the InterSex condition, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and they are all WOMEN in body and spirit, but not female?

For more of her thoughts please go here.

I will add the same message I sent Cerise concerning Sherri Lynne.
Since Sherri is a professional in our field, I consider any feedback I am fortunate enough to receive from her similar to free legal advice.
I'm sure she is the first to expect not everyone agrees with her and I certainly would be the last person to speak for her!

Outing Yourself

  Image from Simon Humler on UnSplash Years ago, as I sometimes I suffered from strong impostor syndrome, when I was actually fitting in wit...